|FNM picks North Abaco candidate|
Royston Jones Jr.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jul 24, 2012
The Free National Movement (FNM) last night ratified Greg Gomez to run on the party’s ticket in the highly anticipated North Abaco by-election.
A by-election must be called within 60 days after former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s resignation from the House of Assembly becomes effective on August 31.
After almost 10 hours of deliberations at FNM headquarters on Mackey Street yesterday, the FNM’s National Central Council picked Gomez over Perry Thomas, of Fox Town, North Abaco; Jackson McIntosh, a former administrator for Cooper’s Town, and Cay Mills, a taxi driver who also resides in North Abaco.
Gomez, an educator, told reporters that if successful in becoming the new member of Parliament for North Abaco he would work aggressively to continue Ingraham’s legacy.
“I plan to bring the entire North Abaco constituency together,” he said. “We are all one family and we are all together.
“I plan to continue on the legacy of the former prime minister, Hubert Ingraham. That legacy is not over.”
He continued, “We also will galvanize the youth of Abaco and push them forward by empowering them. The youth of North Abaco, especially in the Crown Haven and Cooper’s Town areas, mostly rely on fishing and agriculture and we will empower them in those areas.”
Ingraham recently delayed his resignation to allow Gomez to sort out a residency issue that would have prevented him from successfully nominating.
Ingraham said he wanted Gomez to have a fair chance at the nomination.
Gomez previously lived in the United States and returned home last August.
Under the constitution, a candidate must be ordinarily resident in The Bahamas for at least a year prior to nomination.
Though not considered a politician at heart, Gomez, 39, will run against Renardo Curry, the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) choice again for North Abaco.
Although under his leadership the FNM lost the May 7 general election, Ingraham secured his seat with 2,235 votes, beating Curry, who had 1,856 votes.
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) candidate Sonith Lockhart got 39 votes.
DNA Leader Branville McCartney confirmed that the DNA will not run a candidate in the by-election, after failing to secure a single seat in the general election.
But with fewer that 400 votes between Ingraham and Curry, PLPs believe he has a strong chance of winning the seat.
The PLP won 29 of the 38 seats in the House of Assembly and the FNM secured the remaining nine.
The North Abaco by-election is considered a significant test for the FNM, one that the party’s chairman, Charles Maynard, said would prove the effectiveness of the party.
Minnis said last night the FNM’s objective is to win the seat once again, but by an even larger margin this time around.
Asked whether Gomez was at a disadvantage compared to Curry, who has had more time to campaign, Minnis responded, “Mr. Curry may have been there longer than he has, but we are not concerned about that. We feel we have a better candidate and our candidate will prove victorious.”
Minnis said the potential candidates for the constituency began campaigning shortly after Ingraham announced his resignation.
The hierarchy of the FNM will travel to North Abaco today to formally introduce Gomez as the ratified candidate and begin officially campaigning with the theme ‘All Together’.